"I'm really saddened by it" | Pat Nevin addresses poppy imposition in football


Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

18.55 11 Nov 2019


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The issue of VAR reared its head again during the weekend's Premier League. But so did the debate around the poppy.

Having addressed the discontent around the Video Assistant Referee system on Off The Ball last week, ex-Chelsea and Everton winger Pat Nevin also had his say on discussions around the wearing of the poppy.

Speaking to Joe Molloy after reflecting on Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester City, Pat touched on the issue of increased British military presence in and around football, especially in relation to Armistice Day.

"You're absolutely 100% right. The growth of it has been exponential," he said.

"But it isn't just football. There are cultural things going on. As you mention, Brexit may be one of them a wee bit. But it's been bigger and longer than that as well.

"The media thing over here is extraordinary, how big it has become in the media and how it takes over programming for long periods in the build-up to it as well.

"And of course you're made to look ridiculous if you're not utterly behind it or cheerleading for it. As a personal thing, I'm really saddened by it. Because you wear a poppy if you fancy wearing a poppy and then you don't if you don't."

Unacceptable

He also added that those who choose not to wear the poppy like Ireland's James McClean are "shamed" by those who adhere to the tradition of wearing the poppy.

"And that's unacceptable. It's utterly unacceptable," he added of that attempt to shame non-adherents.

"I'm offended that people shame and abuse people who don't take that exact part in it that they want them to take part in. Clubs shouldn't be shamed into it. I don't think it counts if you're shamed into it. You should do it if you want to do it and you think it's the right thing and it's fitting for the time."

While the poppy has been increasingly front and centre around football and other domains, Pat noted another distinction.

"I'm not seeing the same thing when I walk about town," he continued.

"I spend a lot of time in London and people are walking about. And I would say there are probably less poppies hanging about on people's lapels than there used to be. Particularly among the young. So you think it's growing if you're watching TV and football. There are other big bits of society where I don't know if it's really going to last the way it has been going in the normal society.

"Because there are large areas of society that A, are against the concept. But B, more importantly, they've left it behind and they've moved on."

He also addressed his personal view on the overall issue.

"I'm not uncomfortable with the poppy celebrations. I'm uncomfortable with not being other than that and I think a free society should be."

You can watch the full Football Show with Pat Nevin via our YouTube channel.


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Armistice Day Football James Mcclean Off The Ball Pat Nevin Poppy

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